Edmonton - August 29, 2014 - As I write this, the Oilers are in the process of inking a one year deal with restricted free agent, Justin Schultz. Schultz and his camp and the Oilers have reached this deal with a payout of a reported $3.675 Million per Bob McKenzie. In my mind, the deal had to get done in order for the Oilers to enter into camps and the pre-season with full knowledge of their arsenal, but a large part of me does wonder why such a long hold-up.
Knowing MacTavish’s fascination with keeping the “core of the team” intact, I would assume that the Oilers would be looking for longer than a year. Knowing Schultz’ history with contracts and dealings with other teams in the west, I’m sure there was a threat of holdout being discussed among his camp. Was it the term? Was it the money? We may have to wait until this all happens again next season to find out.
Of course, if you are like me, you are hoping that the days of Oilers needing to fight with their young stars over a year or a million is on its way into the past. In a perfect world, young Justin Schultz would use this season as the bridge that his contract has built (kind of a Golden Gate Bridge) and demonstrate that he is worth the initial hype of signing him, and along with it, a shiny new long term deal.
Whatever the future holds, whatever the reason for the hold up, I’m sure Dallas Eakins and Craig Ramsey can breathe a little easier knowing that the QB of the Oilers PP will be sitting on the Blue-line where he belongs come October. It may be a refreshing feeling knowing that with a new cast of rear-guards, the Oilers do have some new toys on the one part of the ice that was severely lacking.
The season will tell what that all means, and whether or not the Oil will be competing for a playoff spot, or a shot at the McDavid sweepstakes. The one thing we do know is that with Schultz in the 19 sweater, the team is a little better off.
Feel free to disagree with me on twitter @Jthompson2380